Watch This: Trailer for Jasper Jones

Jasper Jones is an Australian mystery starring Toni Collette, Levi Miller and Aaron L. McGrath in a tale compared to To Kill a Mockingbird for its racial underpinnings. It’s a murder mystery which uncovers the overt and covert racism in the 1960s Western Australia. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for Jasper Jones”

The Old Ain’t Dead Top 10 of 2015

Old Ain’t Dead just me, watching whatever looks good. To me. I don’t watch everything. I don’t have a “best of 2015” list because I don’t have a clue as to what most of 2015 had to offer, much less what the best of all that would be.

Yet here we are, at the end of the year, and a top 10 list is in order. So how about an Old Ain’t Dead top 10 for 2015? I present my favorites in no particular order.

I admit to being a little fast and loose with the 2015 part. Some of these things were made before 2015, but I saw them in 2015. Just go with it.

I cheated just a bit, too, because at the end I threw in a few extra mentions of things too good to ignore.

Continue reading “The Old Ain’t Dead Top 10 of 2015”

Review: Miss You Already

Miss You Already is about two friends. One of them dies. True, it’s sad. It’s also funny and beautiful and bursting with love and joy. Don’t let the sad realities of life hold you back from enjoying the other parts of life.

This review contains spoilers.

Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette in a scene from Miss You Already

Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore) are childhood friends. They develop a lifetime bond. Milly is the bigger personality, the instigator, the adventurer. Her needs dominate and Jess often plays a supporting role in Milly’s life.

As children, they read Withering Heights by Emily Brontë together and laugh over it. When Milly is getting chemotherapy, they read it again. They use black Sharpies to draw moustaches on pretty women in magazines. They experience everything together. They laugh, oh, they laugh.

As adults, they lead separate lives but remain close. Milly marries a rock musician, Kit (Dominic Cooper). They have two kids when Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer.

A scene from Miss You Already

Jess marries Jago (Paddy Considine). They want kids but are having problems getting pregnant in the beginning of the film. Their relationship is one of the lovelier parts of the film. Jago has a fabulous sense of humor.

A considerable part of the film is concerned with Milly’s medical condition and treatment: her reaction to it, Jess’s reaction to it, Kit’s reaction to it, the children’s reactions to it, her mother’s reaction to it. For a while she seems to respond to the treatment and get better, but alas, the cancer spreads.

Toward the end of the film, when Milly is in hospice and Jess is having her baby, Jess wants Milly there. Milly’s going, no matter how weak she is. Milly’s mother, Miranda (Jacqueline Bisset), puts her in a wheelchair and sneaks her out of hospice. As Jess is giving birth, with Milly finally beside her, Jago is watching from an oil rig in the North Sea on a very shaky connection. Three strong, hulky men who share his bunk space are watching and helping with the wifi. When Jago asks Miranda to hold the camera so he can see the baby come out, the reaction of the three big men is hilarious and one of the best laughs in the film.

Other characters who pass through the lives of Jess and Milly include Jill (Frances de la Tour), who does the obligatory shaving of the chemo hair and supplies a wig. There’s the cool and calm Athena (Shola Adewusi), the midwife who delivers Jess’s baby. There’s Ahmed (Mem Ferda), a cab driver who takes the two of them 250 miles north into the Yorkshire moors where they dance on the moors in the middle of the night and stay in a Brontë themed inn. That’s where Jess tells Milly that she’s finally pregnant. That’s also where Milly meets up with her temporary after-mastectomy lover Ace (Tyson Ritter).

Jess is disgusted by Milly’s affair. They argue. Jess takes a spill on the rocky moor. The fall endangers the baby and causes a temporary rift between them.

Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette

There is so much love and joy and humor in this film. Love is so rare and Milly and Jess have it in abundance – for each other, for their families. It’s more a story of a beautiful friendship than a story of loss.

Milly’s daughter Scarlett snuggles into Jess’s lap. She opens a magazine and uses a black Sharpie to draw a moustache on a pretty woman. It’s as if Milly is still there.The death scene, when it came, was quiet. Milly and Jess lay side by side in Milly’s bed at the hospice, holding hands. They fall asleep and only Jess wakes up.

The poignant moment for me was a scene after Milly’s death. Jess and Jago have a son about 2 years old now and a second child on the way. They are having a meal with Kit and his kids. Miranda is there with her new boy friend. Milly’s daughter Scarlett (Honor Kneafsey) snuggles into Jess’s lap. She opens a magazine and uses a black Sharpie to draw a moustache on a pretty woman. It’s as if Milly is still there.

The film isn’t perfect. The voice over at the beginning was hokey. The frequent extreme close ups of faces felt invasive. I wanted to push the movie screen back about 100 feet because those huge faces seemed to enter my personal space. (Even while feeling overwhelmed by the close ups on the big screen, I was thinking they would work well on my TV at a distance and smaller.) While much of it rang real and true, some of it was glossed over and not as real in the details. The film was set in England, but, oddly, the cast weren’t all using English accents. I don’t give it all the stars, but I give it a lot of stars!

Catherine Hardwicke directed the film. Morwenna Banks wrote the screenplay. I celebrate the fact that the film has a woman director, with more women behind the camera. I have so much YES! for women-led stories.

However, don’t dismiss this film as a chick flick. It isn’t a chick flick or a dick flick. It’s a story about true friendship and what it means in the lives of all the people around it – male and female, parents and children. Lucky are the few who have such deep bonds of friendship.

You can watch the trailer in an earlier post.

Images ©Roadside Attractions

Watch This: Trailer for Miss You Already

Miss You Already stars power pair Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore in a drama about best friends. Dominic Cooper and Paddy Considine play the men in the lives of these two friends. 

The synopsis reads, “Miss You Already is an honest and powerful story following two best friends, Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore), as they navigate life’s highs and lows. Inseparable since they were young girls, they can’t remember a time they didn’t share everything –secrets, clothes, even boyfriends — but nothing prepares them for the day Milly is hit with life-altering news. A story for every modern woman, Miss You Already celebrates the bond of true friendship that ultimately can never be broken, even in life’s toughest moments.”

Based on the two main characters and the relationship they show in the previews, I would watch this movie no matter what. You want a movie about women’s lives? This is one. I support that 100%.

The film is directed by Catherine Hardwicke with a screenplay by Morwenna Banks.

Miss You Already will be released on November 6.

Review: Frankie and Alice

Frankie and Alice was panned by the critics, often for reasons that had nothing to do with the film itself. One critic panned it because it was finished in 2010 but not released until 2014. <sarcasm>Well, that sure seems like a good reason to hate a film to me. </sarcasm>

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Frankie and Alice”

Happy Birthday to Me

Old Ain’t Dead is now a little over a year old. The accompanying twitter account @OldAintDead is also a year old. It doesn’t feel like a year has passed, but you know how time seems to fly when you get older.

In that year, I’ve published 260+ posts. If you’ve read any of them, if you’ve commented on any of them, if you’ve talked with me on Twitter, I want to thank you. Thank you for your time and attention and for encouraging me along this pop culture journey.

Rachel Skarsten, Anna Silk, and Linda Hamilton in Lost Girl
Rachel Skarsten, Anna Silk, and Linda Hamilton in Lost Girl

My first post was about Lost Girl, and I’ve mentioned Lost Girl 28 times since then on this blog.

Tatiana Maslany as Helena in Orphan Black
Tatiana Maslany as Helena in Orphan Black

I’ve also talked an awful lot about other women-centric TV such as Orphan Black, Last Tango in Halifax, and Orange is the New Black.

Toni Collette in  Lucky Them
Toni Collette in Lucky Them

A whole boatload of movies featuring interesting women have been brought to your attention, and even a few movies featuring interesting men. There have been a few web series that have caught my eye, particularly WIGS, which is only about women.

Once in a while in the past year, I have published opinion pieces about topics such as representation, role-models, feminism, and diversity in pop culture.

Whew, when I write it all down like that, it does seem like a lot. It’s been a busy year after all.

So happy birthday to Old Ain’t Dead. Here’s hoping for a successful year number 2.

Watch This: Another Trailer for Tammy

The preview made me laugh so much, I cannot wait for Tammy! And, if Melissa McCarthy wasn’t enough to make you love this movie, it also has Susan Sarandon and Kathy Bates.

Also listed in the cast for this film, but not shown in the trailer, are Allison Janney, Gary Cole, Mark Duplass, Toni Collette, Nat Faxon, and Dan Aykroyd. Everybody in Hollywood wants to be in a movie with Melissa McCarthy, and for good reason!

You don’t need to watch fireworks on July 4. You need to watch Tammy.

Watch This: Trailer for Lucky Them

Lucky Them stars Toni Collette as a rock journalist in danger of losing her job. To hang on to it, she’s forced to go after a story involving an old boyfriend.

The film, directed by Megan Griffiths, is due out beginning May 30.

Toni Collette in Lucky Them
Toni Collette in Lucky Them

This is really a film about accepting change. Changes in Collette’s character Ellie Klug, changes in the music business, changes in the publishing business. Oliver Platt stars as Ellie Klug’s boss.

Oliver Platt in Lucky Them
Oliver Platt in Lucky Them

Thomas Haden Church stars as a documentary filmmaker who follows Klug around as she attempts to learn what happened to a long disappeared rock star. A rock star Klug had a relationship with and hasn’t let go of yet.

Thomas Haden Church in Lucky Them
Thomas Haden Church in Lucky Them

Ryan Eggold is Klug’s current love interest, as you see in the following preview.

Toni Collette is remarkable; I’d be happy to watch her act in anything. This film looks like an interesting examination of a woman’s life – a woman of a certain age – who hasn’t come to terms with her own story yet.

The script was co-written by Emily Wachtel, Caroline Sherman, and Huck Botko.